Ireland eases two lockdown restrictions

Ireland eases two lockdown restrictions as people are allowed to travel further away for exercise and over-70s can now go out in isolation – but most of coronavirus measures will now last until May 18

  • Another 34 people in Ireland have died due to coronavirus, with 221 more cases diagnosed, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed
  • Varadkar said: ‘Many regular health services will resume operating and it will be possible to meet small groups of friends and family outdoors’
  • Varadkar confirmed that schools and colleges will reopen in September/October at the start of the new academic year
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

By Sara Scarlett For Mailonline

Published: 15:22 EDT, 1 May 2020 | Updated: 17:15 EDT, 1 May 2020

Ireland’s premier Leo Varadkar has announced an extension of the country’s coronavirus restrictions to May 18 with two exceptions. 

Mr Varadkar announced the easing of two restrictions: extending an exercise travel limit from 2km to 5km from home and advising over-70s they can leave home for isolated exercise from Tuesday.

The Taoiseach said there would be five stages, three weeks apart, with the fifth phase commencing on August 10 if everything goes to plan. 

Another 34 people in Ireland have died due to coronavirus, with 221 more cases diagnosed, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed. 

The total number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Ireland is now 1,265. The latest confirmed coronavirus cases bring the total to 20,833 cases in Ireland.

Leo Varadkar on the steps of the Government Buildings Dublin, addressing the public on the state of the coronavirus lockdown in Ireland

Leo Varadkar on the steps of the Government Buildings Dublin, addressing the public on the state of the coronavirus lockdown in Ireland

Leo Varadkar on the steps of the Government Buildings Dublin, addressing the public on the state of the coronavirus lockdown in Ireland

On May 18, outdoor work, like construction and landscaping, will resume. Some outdoor sporting and fitness activities in small groups will also be allowed.

Mr Varadkar said that schools and colleges will reopen next term in September or October.  

The plans were agreed by Cabinet after medical experts on the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) provided advice to the Government earlier on Friday. The current lockdown period had been due to expire on Monday 11th May. 

Mr Varadkar said 70% of people diagnosed with the virus had made a full recovery. He said the figure would have been so much lower if the health service had been overwhelmed. 

Mr Varadkar has said the last few weeks have transformed people’s lives ‘in so many different ways and ways that we could not have imagined’.

Speaking from Government Buildings in Dublin, he said: ‘I know it’s been difficult. The uncertainty about when things will get back to normal and the fear of the virus itself.

‘As a nation, our physical health has been attacked, our mental health eroded. Our economy battered and our society put to the ultimate test.

‘Many people are lonely during the pain of isolation. Many people are grieving in silence and many have lost their jobs.’

Mr Varadkar added: ‘Unfortunately the risk of a second wave of the virus is present. So we could only move to the next stage if the virus stays under control between each phase and there is a risk that we’d have to go back a phase if that happens.

‘In any scenario, at least until we have a vaccine, or an effective treatment, there will be a long-term need for physical distancing, good hygiene, respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning and for people to stay at home and isolate if they’re sick.

‘It will take some time for our lives to get back to normal, to a new normal, but it will happen. So on the 18th of May, Ireland begins to reopen and begins that journey to a new normal.  

During his address, Mr Varadkar read excerpts from some of the 10,000 pieces of correspondence he has received from members of the public since the crisis began.

He spoke of Jessica, a wheelchair user, who feels an enormous cloud of loneliness around her; Anne Marie, a healthcare worker who contracted Covid-19 who described her patients as like family; Phil, a pensioner who lives alone who is struggling with isolation; and Rachel, 13, who is worried about her grandparents.

‘We’re doing this for Jessica, for Anne Marie, for Phil, for Rachel and for everyone else who are struggling as best they can to come through this crisis,’ said Mr Varadkar.

‘We’re doing this for each other. The coronavirus is cruel and inhuman however the stories I am hearing every day are stories of human kindness.’

‘Many regular health services will resume operating and it will be possible to meet small groups of friends and family outdoors,’ he added.

‘Not long from now, some summer night, we will see our friends again.

‘In later phases other workplaces, businesses, childcare, preschools, restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms will reopen.

Irish police officers, or Garda officers, talk with members of the public as they conduct checks on pedestrians and motorists in Dublin city centre on April 8, 2020

Irish police officers, or Garda officers, talk with members of the public as they conduct checks on pedestrians and motorists in Dublin city centre on April 8, 2020

Irish police officers, or Garda officers, talk with members of the public as they conduct checks on pedestrians and motorists in Dublin city centre on April 8, 2020

‘Schools and colleges will reopen in September/October at the start of the new academic year. 

‘So tomorrow morning Cabinet will meet again to agree further actions to help our businesses to restart, reconnect and rehire staff who’ve been laid off or furloughed.’

Mr Varadkar added: ‘Separately, a national protocol is being developed by Government, employers and trade unions with the assistance of the Health and Safety Authority of the HSE.

‘This will enable a gradual restart of economic activity as restrictions are eased while protecting the health and safety of all workers as they return to work.

‘We will do everything possible to get enterprises back and running so you can get your job back.

‘While it will take some time before we get to enjoy again things we are missing, from the comfort of our families, to a night out with friends, those days will come again.’

Advertisement

 292 total views,  6 views today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow by Email
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Share